I learned long ago that I am not the same person I was when I was 20. I'm not the same person I was at 30. Hell, in many ways, I'm not even the same person I was a year ago.
Life has a way of changing us. Those of us who are paying attention and who are receptive of the changes, that is. Some people are quite content staying the same. Some people fear change. Me, I embrace it. Some changes are made consciously, some are born of necessity. Life is constantly evolving and I'm just doing my best to keep up!
My ex husband could never understand my obsession with tattoos. He was convinced I must have some ulterior motive for getting so many...surely I must be trying to impress someone. I tried in vain to make him understand that the only person I was getting them for was me. Nothing I do to my person is for another living soul. My body is mine and mine alone and I would NEVER make a permanent change to it for another person. My tattoos are an expression of who I am, worn on my body as a reminder to ME of who I am, where I've been, and things that I hold dear.
Along those same lines, I don't wear make-up to look good for someone else. I don't dye my hair, buy certain clothes, pluck my eyebrows, shave my legs, exercise for ANYONE but me.
I've spent a good portion of my life trying to impress other people: my parents, my husband(s), my friends, my co-workers, my neighbors, my dog walker's second cousin... But, as the years came and went, it began to dawn on me that the only person I needed to impress, was me.
I am the only person I need to impress.
That bears repeating...I am the only person I need to impress.
To that end, I've been doing some serious soul searching and have started making some changes that I hope will impress me.
For starters, I've finally convinced myself that I am in fact important. I am not second class and need to stop treating myself as such. I don't EVER cook for myself when my kids go spend the weekend with their dad. I've started doing so. Not always. Not even often. But enough that I actually feel good about it and enjoyed it. I don't often spend that kind of time doing something "just" for me.
I've also started pruning my circle. I've eliminated some of those whose negativity/drama/whining/life sucking ways were dragging me/keeping me down.
I've also stopped letting myself feel so much fucking guilt. I was holding onto so much guilt that it was tearing me apart. I was holding onto guilt for things that I probably, in all honestly, shouldn't have been feeling guilty for in the first place.
I've been working on my parenting techniques. Because, you know, parenting is the single hardest job a person could ever have. And the kids don't often assist with making it any easier. At least not the teenaged ones. I've given punishment a total reboot. My kids absolutely hate it. Just means I found a keeper! :-)
I rearranged my bedroom, moving my desk to the dining room. Doesn't sound like a huge deal, but it kind of is. I was spending too much time at my desk, in my room, isolated. Time to re acclimate myself to civilization.
And one of the changes I'm most proud of, I've given up a great deal of my more deadly vices. Yes, I'm a quitter. And I'm not even ashamed. About 9 months ago I quit smoking. I've flirted with quitting, off and on, over the last few years. I quit in October and haven't looked back. I honestly don't even miss it.
I've been a devout soda drinking for about 25 years now. That's longer than either of my marriages, combined. Longer than my oldest kid has been on this planet. To say it's been a difficult split is putting it mildly. I tried, in vain, several times before to quit. I quit quitting. Caffeine was definitely my own personal form of heroine. It actually took me two solid months to wean myself off. My final push to quit came when my youngest son's doctor thought his mood disorder was being affected by his caffeine intake. Now, I'm not a drug dealer/pusher. I don't buy soda for my kids (except as a once in a while sort of treat), I just use it myself... Hearing the doctor say that caffeine affects our mood, and greatly, was all I needed to hear to make that final sprint to the finish line, and quit.
It's been 13 days.
Since quitting, my stomach doesn't hurt nearly as often as it did before. I'm not so irritable when I wake up in the morning (those of you who had to work early 5 am shifts with me, well, you can appreciate this most). I'm actually able to sleep more (still not at night, though). I don't have near daily headaches. And (this is the best one!) I've started losing weight. So far, I've lost about 10 pounds. Not a huge deal, 10 pounds. But 10 pounds in 13 days, is.
I've literally spent years trying new fad exercises, new routines, got gym memberships, tried the South Beach Diet, thought about purging, climbed 2/3 of the Manitou Incline (will have to blog about that another time), walked, hiked, yoga'd, changed how/what I eat, and generally done damn near anything else I could think of. None of it did anything like this.
My heaviest weight was 290. I'm now down to 235. I'd gotten it down to about 230, but with the inactivity of not working, I put a little back on.
What can I say??? I'm flawed, I'm human. But, I'm an impressive human!
I'm finally starting to impress myself. Huzzah.
I've basically decided to rewrite my own story. I'm changing everything I don't like, throwing it all out. Now, I'm deciding what to let in, and what to keep out.
I've still got a long way to go before I sleep, but I'm getting there. I'm not done changing just yet. I'm starting to impress myself. But I'm not fully impressed, just yet.